Conrad Wants Gulf of Mexico Opened But Doesn't Commit to Coastal Drilling

Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) called for more oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, but he wouldn't commit to domestic offshore drilling elsewhere.

"Look, I think the first thing we ought to do is focus on the gulf," Conrad said when asked by CNN's John Roberts Tuesday whether companies should be able to drill off the East and West coasts. "[The gulf is] where the experts tell us the richest opportunities lie. Part of the gulf is open. Part of it is not. I think we ought to focus on that gulf area that is so rich in possibility."

Conrad appeared on television with Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.). Both said they're members of a "Gang of 10" senators that is seeking a bipartisan solutions to rising energy costs. The other members of the group are Sens. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), John Thune (R-S.D.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.).

Chambliss is a strong supporter of calls by John McCain, President Bush and other Republicans for more domestic drilling.

Barack Obama has said that more domestic drilling would do little in the short term to stem the rise of gas prices. Conrad, an early Obama supporter, noted that Obama backed a push last year to drill more in the gulf.